Can a home-based, self-applied ECG patch improve the diagnosis of atrial fibrillation?

July 10, 2018

Bottom Line: For approximately 20 percent of individuals who experience a stroke due to atrial fibrillation (AF; an irregular and often rapid heart rate), the occurrence of AF was not diagnosed until the time of their stroke or shortly afterward. Improved AF diagnosis and treatment could reduce the risk of stroke. In a randomized trial that included about 2,600 participants at increased risk of AF, immediate monitoring with a home-based, self-applied wearable ECG sensor patch resulted in a higher rate of AF diagnosis after four months compared with delayed monitoring (3.9 percent vs 0.9 percent). In an observational study, monitored individuals had higher rates of AF diagnosis, greater initiation of blood thinners, but also increased health care resource use at one year compared with non-monitored controls. Further research is needed regarding the clinical implications of these findings.

Authors: Steven R. Steinhubl, M.D., Scripps Translational Science Institute, La Jolla, California, and coauthors

To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.

Related material available on the For The Media website:

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The editorials: "Evaluating Health Technology Through Pragmatic Trials," by Eric D. Peterson, M.D., M.P.H., of Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, and Robert A. Harrington, M.D., Stanford University, Stanford, California; and "Screening for Atrial Fibrillation With a Wearable Device," by Benjamin A. Steinberg, M.D., M.H.S., University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, and Jonathan P. Piccini, M.D., M.H.S., Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.

(doi:10.1001/jama.2018.8102)

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
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